Where will US retail tech monies be spent in 2020?

Wed, May 27, 2020

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Total Retail's analysis of US retail technology trends offers some suggestions. You might be surprised...

Where will US retail tech monies be spent in 2020?

We recently had the pleasure of reading Total Retail’s valuable analysis of US retail technology trends, buying behaviors, and future purchasing intentions. Thought-provoking.

The headline—and no surprise—was this: for 2019 and 2020, it’s all about omnichannel fulfillment. That’s where discretionary monies were spent in 2019, and that’s where investments will continue to increase in 2020 and beyond. It’s inventory and order management systems, and order fulfillment and scheduling software. All aimed at delivering the customer-centric, unified commerce capabilities that are now the starting point for retail success.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still at the forefront of current business, it’s no surprise that some of this direction has become skewed. However, businesses are already beginning to refocus their sights on this topic as restrictions lift and consumers return to the wild.

For the rest of 2020 and beyond, the topics will gravitate towards content management, personalization, and marketing automation. Of course—because it’s rough out there. Statista tells us that there were roughly 105 million Amazon Prime members in the US as of June 2019. The research firm eMarketer tells us that nearly 47 percent of all US online product searches begin on Amazon.com. Is anyone confused why shopper retention and acquisition deserves additional investment?

What’s also very interesting are the details on pre-COVID and anticipated spending on emerging technology. More than one-third of the survey respondents denoted they would not be allocating budget in 2020 to any of the emerging technologies listed by Total Retail. And that’s a list that includes artificial intelligence. Hmm.

But for those who do plan to invest new monies in the future, the top-four list of new emerging technology investment in 2020 is striking.

Artificial intelligence is number one. And should be. AI is followed in order by chatbots, visual search, and voice search and commerce.

The latter three all rated as more important and valuable going forward than such tools of past promise as RFID, IOT, robots, virtual reality, beacons, and drones.

Why chatbots and voice? Four big reasons.

All these and more are the reasons why leading retailers and CPG brands are now investing in voice search and commerce.

And why we’re now creating the Open Voice Network. An enterprise-driven, non-profit industry association, business-smart and platform neutral, bringing the value of standards to voice assistance.